If you are a "Computer Genius" (aka, you know how to reformat a floppy) and agree to fix or, in any way remedy someone's computer problem, you have now "bought the debt." This means that it will be your eternal responsibility to instantly respond to any irregularity with, or question on, this machine.
This includes, but is in no way limited to the hardware and software on the machine at the time, and any purchased (or, more likely, pirated) in the future...”
If you do not respond within 30-90 minutes your "client" reserves the sole right to call and email you until they get an answer...and/or badmouth you to friends in perpetuity (which they will probably do anyway since you "did not fix it good enough to begin with").
God help you if you do it as a “favor,” because that invokes the “Friend” provision which quadruples all responsibilities but reduces, by a factor of ten, all tangible reward.
You'll know you have bought the debt if someone says one of the following to you:
"It was working fine before you did whatever you did"
"I'll make you dinner and you can fix my computer (and there is no promise of sex after Photoshop is successfully installed)"
"Walk me through it on the phone--it should only take a few minutes"
..oh there are so many more...
Origin of this phrase is in Mafia-speak where one mobster would whack another...but dead mobster owed the Big Boss 200 large. Now his killer must pay the Boss his 200 large...he just bought the debt (is responsible for it until death).
I helped my friend's dad install Quickbooks last April and he is still calling me with printing problems...boy I really bought the debt on that one.
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